How to Fix a Clothes Dryer That Dries Slowly

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Does your dryer take forever to dry? While the problem could be something simple, like a kink in the vent hose, or complex, like a broken heating element, a more likely cause is excessive lint. When lint collects in your machine, it reduces air flow, slowing drying time significantly. And lint on electrical parts can shorten their lives or cause a fire. The solution? A good vacuuming.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy Rag
  • Vacuum With Attachments
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Adjustable Pliers Or Screwdriver
  • Nut Driver And Socket
  • Plumber's Snake
  • Thin Screwdriver Or Putty Knife

Cleaning the ductwork

  • Pull the dryer out from the wall and unplug it.

  • Disconnect the clamps that hold the vent hose to the dryer and the vent duct, using adjustable pliers or a screwdriver.

  • Take the hose outdoors where you can stretch it out and clean it.

  • Loosen the lint inside the hose, using a plumber's snake with a heavy rag tied around the end. Push the snake and rag back and forth through the hose.

  • Vacuum up the loose lint, using a vacuum and attachments. Then, if lint still appears to be stuck to the hose, repeat the process.

  • Clean the ductwork that runs to your outside exhaust hood. If you have a long run of ductwork, you may have to take it apart to clean it thoroughly. Otherwise, use the plumber's snake and rag.

  • Clean the exhaust hood that's attached to the outside of your house. Use an old toothbrush to loosen the lint and your vacuum to collect it. Take extra time cleaning the flapper plate and make sure it moves freely when you're done. If the flapper sticks when it's shut, the dryer won't be able to exhaust properly.

Cleaning inside the machine

  • Open the filter slot--it's either on top of the machine or inside the door--and take out the removable filter.

  • Vacuum around and inside the filter slot, using your vacuum and crevice attachment. Vacuum the removable filter, too.

  • Remove the dryer's back panel, using a nut driver and socket.

  • Vacuum inside the back of the machine. Then vacuum the vents on the back panel.

  • Remove the service panel that runs along the front of the dryer, just below the door. It should be held in place by two clips along the top edge of the panel. To free the clips, slip a thin screwdriver or a putty knife between the top of the panel and the bottom of the door and pry. Pull the top of the panel forward, then lift it off the hooks that hold the bottom to the machine. Set it aside.

  • Vacuum inside the bottom of the dryer. Make sure to vacuum the motor and pulley.

  • Reinstall the front and back panels.

  • Reinstall the vent hose.

  • Plug in the machine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lint is more likely to collect in a long run of ductwork. If yours is over 12 feet (3.5 m) long, try to reroute and shorten it.
  • Packing too many clothes in your dryer also can slow drying time significantly. Fill the dryer loosely rather than jamming it with clothes.

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